Another dominating performance by the defence paved the way for the Essex Ravens to claim the team’s first Ontario Provincial Football League title.
Essex’s defence held the Ottawa Sooners’ offence to two field goals as the Ravens secured a 25-6 win in Saturday’s premier varsity championship game at TD Waterhouse Stadium in London.
“We’ve been playing with the same core of group of guys for long time,” Ravens linebacker Zack Argent said. “I always felt we had potential and this year we just all put it together. We were all like brothers. We had such a bond.”
After a season-opening loss in London to the two-time league champion Junior Mustangs, the Ravens reeled of 10-straight wins en route to the title.
“I just think there was a focus and commitment to winning a championship,” Ravens’ head coach Glen Mills said. “They were incredibly focused on what needed to be done and they never complained. They just came to practice, worked and got it done.”
Ottawa used an early turnover to take a 3-0 lead, but the Ravens pulled even at halftime on a 32-yard field goal by Griffen Fenton.
“I think it was nerves,” Ravens wide receiver Vyshonne Janusas said of the team’s early struggles on offence. “We got the first half out of the way, calmed down and realized it’s just another game and shouldn’t look at it any differently than any other game.”
Essex took its first possession of the second half to the end zone with Dante Daniels pulling in a 13-yard slat from Emmitt Rosati for a touchdown that Fenton converted to put the Ravens up 10-3.
“I was telling everyone, at halftime ‘Hey, I have faith in our offence and they’re going to turn it on, score again and trust me, we’re going to win,’” said the 18-year-old Argent, who is headed to the University of Windsor. “They’re not going to score on our defence. We have faith in them and they have faith in us.”
Ottawa did use another turnover to pull to within 10-6 after three quarters, but got not closer.
“Our defence really stepped up,” the 18-year-old Janusas said. “It means a lot for me because I haven’t had a championship in football in six years. I didn’t win one in high school (at Herman). No matter what sport play or where you are, winning is a confidence booster and humbles you and make you want to work. It was a blast.”
Tai Colquhoun scored on a seven-yard run and Aiden Mitrevski scored on a one-yard run with Fenton converting both and adding a single to close the scoring as Essex claimed its fifth title in franchise history and first since 2015.
“It means a lot,” Argent said. “I’ve been in a couple of championships. I’ve been playing since Grade 6 or 7 and been to a couple and lost. This might be my last year and it’s great to finish on high note.
“Usually the underdog is a preferred role, but I really feel this team was different. We had a sense of confidence, but not cockiness. We knew what we were capable of.”
ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders have signed unrestricted free agent TE Luke Willson, the club announced Friday.
Willson joins the Raiders after spending the 2018 season as a member of the Detroit Lions. Prior to his year in Detroit, he spent five seasons with the Seattle Seahawks after originally joining the club as a fifth-round selection (158th overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft. Willson has played in 86 career games with 45 starts, recording 102 receptions for 1,216 yards with 11 touchdowns over his six-year career. In nine career postseason games, he has totaled 13 receptions for 154 yards with one touchdown.
Last season, the 6-foot-5, 254-pound tight end appeared in 14 games with eight starts for the Lions, posting 13 receptions for 87 yards. He recorded a career-high four touchdowns in 2017 with Seattle and set career highs in both receptions (22) and receiving yards (362) in 2014, while adding three touchdowns on the season. As a rookie in 2013, Willson played in all 16 games with seven starts, totaling 20 catches for 272 yards while helping the Seahawks win Super Bowl XLVIII.
A native of LaSalle, Ontario, Can., Willson appeared in 45 games over five seasons (2008-12) at Rice. He completed his collegiate career with 78 catches for 986 yards with nine touchdowns.
The Essex Ravens are excited to welcome back Coach Joe D'Amore to the varsity coaching staff. Coach D'Amore will fill the role of Offensive Co Ordinator. Last time Coach D'Amore was with the Varsity Ravens (2010) they won a championship.
Wide Receiver Vyshonne Janusas has committed to play his post secondary football at the University of Western Ontario.
Linebacker Zack Argent has committed to the University of Windsor Lancers. Congrats Zack.
Congratulations to Jaxon Morkin who recently committed to play his university football for the Windsor Lancers.
With an MIAA-record 26 field goals this season, along with an FHSU-record 114 points scored, Dante Brown is the MIAA Special Teams Player of the Year.
The Essex Ravens are excited to have Chris lead the JV program into the 2019 season. Chris brings a wealth of knowledge both as a player and a coach.
Coach Church Bio
Played 5 years and was a 2x all city selection for Mc'Gregor panthers Three time All Canadian for Windsor Lancers Member of Gino Fracas Wall of Honour. Inducted into University of Windsor Athletic Hall of Fame.
Windsor Minor Football for 15 years
Essex Ravens 2006-2015
Cardinal Carter 2006-present
Windsor Lancers 2011-2017
The Essex Ravens would also like to thank Coach Randy Beardy for his commitment this past season and wish him all the best as he continues to pursue his dream of being a full time coach.
Chris was born and raised in Windsor. Played high school football at WD Lowe Secondary. 2 time All City RB. Played at the University of Windsor for 3 seasons and AKO Fratmen for one.
While at the University won OUAA Rookie of the Year. Name OUAA all star and second team CIS. OFC all star for the AKO Fratmen. Led the league in rushing. Grateful to have been coached by Gino Fracas, John Mussleman and Mike Morencie. Drafted by the Edmonton Eskimos.
Coached 4 years at Oakridge HS in London, WR, QB and RB's
Oakville Minor Football
WR and QB coach
Oakville Holy Trinity
Junior team OC
Senior Team RB coach
I would also like to thank Coach Mills and the Ravens Organization for the opportunity to be part of such and outstanding group of coaches and players.
We are excited to have Chris join the Ravens Family his knowledge and expertise will help propel our athletes to the next level. Welcome Chris.
Congratulations to the Following Essex Ravens who made the 54 man roster. We had 9 Ravens make the list. Good Luck moving forward. Bring home the Gold in Calgary.
James Hanlon LB
Ethan Mackinnon WR
Zack Argent LB
Jaxon Morkin OL
Bret Macdougall DB
Brendyn Fountain OL
Cam Creechan K/P
Devin Veresuk DL
Dominic Price OL
Extremely Proud. Represent the Essex Ravens with Class.#compete
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